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Posted on Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 5:58 a.m.

Dexter's Mill Creek Park to celebrate grand opening Saturday

By Lisa Carolin


A boardwalk winds through Dexter's new Mill Creek Park.

Jeffrey Smith |

Editor's note: The time frame for the completion of the planned path to connect Mill Creek Park and Hudson Mills Metropark has been corrected. The village initially provided incorrect information.

Andrea Sellman grew up in Dexter and remembers when the area along the banks of Mill Creek in the village was just that, some land along the creek.

No longer. The area has been transformed into an attractive park with an amphitheater, boardwalk, two boat launches, two observation and fishing decks and benches.

"Last summer the kids enjoyed watching the construction equipment, and now it's really lovely," Sellman said on a recent day. "The wetlands smell so good and there are butterflies and bumblebees."

Nancy McKinney from Ann Arbor also marvels at the changes to the area now called Mill Creek Park.


Dexter residents Jonathan and Jamie Brooks hold hands Tuesday evening as they walk through the newly developed Mill Creek Park n Dexter. "It's beautiful, and it's nice to have somewhere for the people of Dexter to be out and enjoy nature," Jonathan said of his first walk through the park.

"Last time I was here was several years ago," said McKinney. "Since then they added a gravel entrance to the water, a lookout area, and more playground equipment."

"It's really pretty and I like that it's surrounded by trees," said McKinney's granddaughter Zoe White.

The first phase of the long awaited Mill Creek Park project is complete and will have a grand opening this Saturday, Aug. 11, right after the Dexter Daze parade. There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony open to the public at approximately 11 a.m. at the park located just west of downtown Dexter. .

The 4-acre Mill Creek Park project cost $1.24 million. The next phase involves continuing the path south on property that belongs to Dexter Community Schools.

"The park will have a huge impact on people wanting to live in the community and make Dexter a destination," said Allison Bishop, Community Development Manger for the village. "It's an easy walk from downtown and you feel like you're one with nature."

To create the park, the dam in Mill Creek was removed. Some restoration was done to the creek and rock control structures were installed. Most of the money for the project came from grant funding. The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund provided $450,000, the Waterways Infrastructure Program gave $50,000, the county assisted with $200,000 in funding, and DTE provided $4,000.

"Four years ago we started the whole process because we saw the potential for this great park," said Paul Cousins, Dexter Village Council member.

Cousins that that a stairwell from the Mill Creek Park to the Dexter Farmers' Market on Alpine Street should be completed in about a month.

Courtney Nicholls, assistant village manager, said a path is under construction to connect Hudson Mills Park to the north to Mill Creek Park.

That path will be started in the fall and is expected to be completed next spring or summer Nicholls said. "The county will begin work on a path (Border-to-Border Trail) from Dexter-Huron Metropark to Mill Creek Park next winter or spring. We're the hub of several different trailheads," she said.

Even before the grand opening, Mill Creek Park has received a lot of visitors.

"Any time you go to the park there are people walking," Cousins said. "We had a vision and it worked out. This is a spectacular opportunity for the village to blossom."

Lisa Carolin is a freelance reporter for



Fri, Aug 10, 2012 : 12:07 a.m.

Beautiful - another home run for Dexter!

Vince Caruso

Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 5:14 p.m.

The fight for a Ann Arbor Allen's Creek Greenway - What does Dexter know that we don't. Economic development, environmental stewardship, quality of life, green space respite, mood elevating, alternative transportation, health enhancement, common sense, ...


Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 3:45 p.m.

What a huge improvement for our community - Thanks to all the leaders sho made this happen. In my opinion, it's the areas most beautiful park. Hope there will be more positive developments for Dexter to come!


Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 2:08 p.m.

I loved living in Dexter, reality, what a concept .

Dog Guy

Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 1:46 p.m.

This is a beautiful downtown park, a respite from the fast-paced hustle of Dexter, but it needs a train station in the middle of it so we can more easily get to it from Ann Arbor.

Rork Kuick

Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 1:46 p.m.

My thanks to Paul Cousins and many others. The part upstream on Mill Creek, toward the schools, has some beautiful stuff, and the new piece of trail to be made in Hudson Mills along the Huron will be going through some of the most spectacular forest in the entire county, that used to be very rarely visited (some of it suffered in the Mar 15 tornado though - you may weep). Visitors can also check out Miller-Smith preserve, near Dexter-Chelsea and Granger - small, but with nice trails, fat oaks, good flowers, few invasives. Another great project. Keep checking those volunteer opportunities:


Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 12:49 p.m.

This will be an awesome addition to our little town!! Thank you to the "visioneers" and everyone else who contributed to making this a reality!! Can't wait to spend some time there!!


Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 12:36 p.m.

this is what happens when local leaders work for the people vs. what happens in Ann Arbor where the leaders work for special interests Livingston county has the border to border trail that goes from Whitmore Lake to Stockbridge, a good portion of it paved. A2 has the potential just not the leadership


Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 1:38 p.m.

Whatever - just sayin A2 falls short on reality but not on arrogance


Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 1:34 p.m.

I think you are talking about the Rails to Trails Project? That's not the Border to Border Trail up there as far as I know.


Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 11:52 a.m.

We could've had something like this in Ann Arbor andit would've been about 10 times larger. I guess that big old ugly concrete dam and the dried up whitewater raceway is much more attractive.


Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 5:53 p.m.

I am SO glad we made the move to Dexter! This is just another lovely addition to this sweet little village.


Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 12:38 p.m.

Yeah. We kinda got schooled on progressiveness by this little-town neighbor of ours, eh?

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Thu, Aug 9, 2012 : 10:54 a.m.

This project and the new segment of the Border to Border Trail are excellent projects which improve the quality of life and make the area more desirable to live in. Projects like this will spur economic growth. Microsoft relocated from Albuquerque, N.M., to Redmond, Wash., early in its corporate existence, for example, primarily because Redmond had the Sammamish River Trail, a 10.9-mile bike path and recreational rail trail. Well done to everyone who made this a reality!